Community Content

Let Me Let You in on a Secret to Sustaining Learning!

Published: Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Updated: Thursday, February 22, 2018

I had the privilege of being part of an incredible learning experience a few years ago. I helped a large healthcare company redesign and launch a new sales model that was a resounding success. Unfortunately, I also have been on the other end of that spectrum. Another client spent a precious development budget creating what I thought was a great learning solution for its managers. Yet the program went nowhere—it was simply a training event, and the organization didn’t adopt any of the knowledge, skills, or behaviors from the program.

What was the difference between these two learning solutions?

As I looked back on both experiences, one thing became clear. The secret to the success of the first program was that the project owners did a phenomenal job of socializing the new learning solution throughout the entire organization. They even got the CEO to read the pre-work on a flight to Europe. However, they not only socialized the program with senior management, they targeted a very special group—the learners’ managers. Eureka! That’s the secret! In the organization that heavily involved the managers, regardless of grade or role, in the development, launch and sustainment of the new learning solution, the training was a huge success. In the organization where the project owners left managers out of the process, the training went nowhere. While this simple idea might seem obvious, I wonder how many times we consciously work to involve the learner’s manager in the process?

During my session entitled Pssst . . . want the secret to getting a great learning solution adopted in your organization, we will examine three key elements for deeply integrating managers into the new learning solution and making them allies in its launch. This session will be highly interactive and will incorporate sharing best practices from the participants.


While many factors determine the success or failure of a new learning solution, one often forgotten key factor is involvement of the learners’ managers. Include them in all phases of the development, launch, and execution of the new learning solution because they can help sustain growth or not to do anything at all

I hope to see you at ATD South Central Chapters Regional Conference in Dallas on March 5.  Here is a link if you are intersted in attending:

#ATDHouston, #ATDSCTX2018

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thank you for your post David. including managers into the design and onboarning/follow up of training projects is a great idea. we are trying to focus on the managers of the learners in our programs where as I would like to hear more on your experiences. hope you can have time to share more on that! all the best,
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Thanks for sharing, David. More focus should be put on preparing managers and helping them support training efforts!
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